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AFGHANISTAN - Sept. 29 - US, Taleban Disagree Over Bin Laden.

The US and the Taleban discuss a US request that Afghanistan expel guerrilla leader Osama Bin Laden but a US spokesman says they made no progress on this and other disputes. The talks are between Abdur Rahman Zahid, deputy FM in the Taleban government in Afghanistan, and Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering. (In May, Pickering gave the Taleban detailed allegations against Bin Laden, the man suspected of planning the bombs at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam in 1998. But the Taleban, despite a UN Security Council resolution imposing limited sanctions, refuses to expel him for trial.) At the Sept. 29 meeting, Pickering brings up Washington's standard complaints about the Taleban, who control 90% of Afghan territory - that they shelter Bin Laden, violate the rights of women and girls, tolerate the production and trading of opium and refuse to share power with their opponents. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says: "The discussion was frank [and] straightforward. Each side explained clearly its position. They've had discussions in the past and they look forward to further discussions in the future". Asked if they made any progress, he says: "I can't characterise anything as being progress, no", adding: "I don't have progress, I don't have anything like that for you... I think it's quite clear we don't agree on those subjects". (The Taleban delegation had been expected to lobby for US recognition and support for the Taleban taking the Afghan seat at the UN, which is now held by representatives of ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani. But Boucher says they did not even bring the subject up. The US opposes recognition anyway, saying the Taleban must first address US concerns.) On Sept. 28, Pickering also had talks with a delegation from the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, formerly known as the Northern Alliance. (The front is the main obstacle to Taleban control of all the country.)
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 30, 2000
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